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Author Topic: Please explain ...  (Read 7196 times)

Smirf

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Please explain ...
« on: April 09, 2006, 02:01:18 PM »
I still have some problems to participate, because:

a) Why is it necessary to open my source code? I have no control who would have access to it then.
    (I am not willing to make an open source project out of my programs)

b) Why must participating donationware be based on freeware? Why not on shareware?
    (the difference: the latter will work unrestrictedly only after making a donation)

c) Why has this contest been published in English language only? Are German programmers excluded?

Regards, Reinhard.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2006, 02:04:12 PM by Smirf »

PhilKC

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Re: Please explain ...
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2006, 02:31:06 PM »
I'm not mouser... But:


A) Otherwise the binary submitted could do something nasty like... Delete random files... I don't think the source code is going to be published against your request...
Quote
However, authors can elect not to have the source code released to the public.

B) Mouser will be able to give you an answer to this...

C) As far as I know, mouser only speaks English, however, you could help out by translating it into German (Or any other language) and passing it on to mouser...

As I said, I'm not mouser, and my comments above are only assumptions that should be disregarded as soon as mouser replies :)

PhilKC
It's not a bug, it's an undocumented and unexplainable feature.
Stick it on your site:

mouser

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Re: Please explain ...
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2006, 02:34:39 PM »
hi smirf!

ok good questions.. let's take them in turn.  philkc had it about right.

a) source code - you do not have to make your source code available to the public.  the reason we require submission of source code is that the winning programs are going to be made available to the public and we need to be able to compile these programs to ensure that no one submits a malicious program (trojan/virus). we could do all testing in a sandbox and so not require source until and if a program is chosen as a winner, if that makes people more comfortable, thought it would make testing more difficult.

but i will repeat what the contest page says - you do not have to open source or reveal source of your program to the public; it's just a security question to make sure we don't officially distribute malware.  perhaps there are alternative ways of assuring ourselves of this if this is a huge issue for someone.

b) freeware/donationware vs. shareware.  our site is about donationware - and so is the contest.  we are not against shareware, but a fun part about this contest is that we are gonig to try hard to help the authors of winning programs get some notice and attention and donations for their freeware/donaitonware program.  if you do not want your program to be donationware then this is not the contest for you :)

c) english only - this is trickier.  certainly support of additional languages beyond english would be viewed as a positive thing.  but as some of the judges are english language only, it might be hard for us to evaluate programs that have no enlish version.  so it's more of a practical matter.  i'll bet that you would find someone on this forum happy to make an english translation for anyone who needed help with it.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2006, 02:36:11 PM by mouser »

Carol Haynes

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Re: Please explain ...
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2006, 02:36:00 PM »
Welcome Smirf.

I am not replying in any official capacity as I have nothing to do with the competition but here is my take:

a) It isn't necessary to make your source open to everybody if you don't want to - but it must be supplied for judging and security purposes. On the contest page it says "For security reasons, entries must include complete source code. However, authors can elect not to have the source code released to the public."

b) This is the basis of the competition. DonationCoder.com is a site committed to freely available software and donations are welcome but not mandatory.

c) I'd guess because Mouser (who runs DonationCoder.com) speaks English and doesn't speak German. I'm sure no offense was meant and that everyone is free to enter but I would imagine that may be difficult to judge if the entry is aimed at a German speaking audience only (unless we have German speakers involved in the judging).

Smirf

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Re: Please explain ...
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2006, 02:39:53 PM »
Quote
A) Otherwise the binary submitted could do something nasty like...
So I should trust in an unnamed person, which is not trusting in an identified me?

Quote
C) ... you could help out by translating it into German ...
My question was meant to learn about all targeted programmers. I am not sure, who is included.

Regards, Reinhard.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Please explain ...
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2006, 02:41:28 PM »
we could do all testing in a sandbox and so not require source until and if a program is chosen as a winner, if that makes people more comfortable, thought it would make testing more difficult.

Just a personal observation, I would have thought that a programming comptetion shouldn't be just about the final product but also how the quality solution is implemented. The style of code writing and the ability to maintain and develop the project in the future (even if it is not made open source) should (IMHO) be part of the judging process and this can only be done if the source code is made available to the judges at the start.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Please explain ...
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2006, 02:43:23 PM »
Quote
A) Otherwise the binary submitted could do something nasty like...
So I should trust in an unnamed person, which is not trusting in an identified me?

No one is forcing anyone to enter if they don't want to abide by the rules.

Quote
C) ... you could help out by translating it into German ...
My question was meant to learn about all targeted programmers. I am not sure, who is included.

Anyone who wants to enter

mouser

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Re: Please explain ...
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2006, 02:50:09 PM »
Quote
So I should trust in an unnamed person, which is not trusting in an identified me?
in the case of a big competition like this, i'm afraid we have to be a little more cautious when it comes to proclaiming a winning program and officially sanctioning it.

Quote
My question was meant to learn about all targeted programmers. I am not sure, who is included.
basically i'm saying that if you have a program which is not in english, there are people who will help to make an english version.  the contest is open to people from any region of the world, and if you don't know english we can help you find someone who can make an english translation for your program, so that shouldn't be an obstacle to entering (for judging purposes we need to be able to have an english version to evaluate).

Quote from: carolh
just a personal observation, I would have thought that a programming comptetion shouldn't be just about the final product but also how the quality solution is implemented. The style of code writing and the ability to maintain and develop the project in the future (even if it is not made open source) should (IMHO) be part of the judging process and this can only be done if the source code is made available to the judges at the start.

in this case, the competition is not based on coding style.  as important as good programming practices are, this is not a competition to test coding skill per se, but rather an evaluation of how good the finished program is from a usability/usefulness factor.


more thoughts:
the hope is that the contest will result in some useful programs that the authors want help getting some attention and donations from, and that the public will benefit from.  so by all means i encourage entrants to interact with users on the forum for help beta testing, translating, thinking up ideas, etc., during the course of the contest period, for those authors who don't feel like they want to keep their submissions secret until the end.

Smirf

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Re: Please explain ...
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2006, 02:57:32 PM »
Quote
No one is forcing anyone to enter if they don't want to abide by the rules.
I rather have thought to read something encouraging, explaining the rules. Thankfully some of you have reacted like that. Thank you.

As for English: I understood, that the program has to provide an English language surface. Currently I am developig an 10x8 and 8x8 Chess program SMIRF, which actually speaks four languages including English. For now it is designed to be shareware in the form of a donationware. But that design does not seem to match your rules. So I have to think the whole thing over ...

Regards, Reinhard.

mouser

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Re: Please explain ...
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2006, 03:06:29 PM »
i don't think this is going to help your decision but it may affect others, and i will clarify it in the contest: i think it should be acceptable for someone to say that their program is freeware/donationware for non-commercial use, but requires a payment (shareware) for commercial use.  that is in keeping with the spirit of the site and contest.

f0dder

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Re: Please explain ...
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2006, 04:07:12 AM »
I can understand why people might not feel comfortable about letting other people see their source, even if it's not going to be distributed to the general public. For what it is worth, mouser has my full confidence, he's one of  those few decent human beings out there. And besides, add a license.txt and license in all your source modules, and people would have a hard time abusing your source code.

I'm personally against using a sandbox for testing, as there's just too many ways to hide malicious code.
- carpe noctem

mouser

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Re: Please explain ...
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2006, 05:09:34 AM »
what i meant about sandbox is that we might accept entries without sourcecode, and do testing within a sandbox, with the understanding that before we sanctioned official winners we'd have to be able to compile it ourselves or otherwise satisfy ourselves that the code was safe.

Smirf

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Re: Please explain ...
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2006, 05:21:11 AM »
Quote from: f0dder
... add a license.txt and license in all your source modules ...
a) one could interprete that, as if I would have intended the source to be seen by a lot of people;
b) I use to comment my sources using my own (German) language, not willing to translate it into every other relevant language;

Quote from: f0dder
... mouser has my full confidence ...
that is fine, but where in the rules could I find the names of all people, who will be authorized to look into contributed program's sources? And why is in not sufficient to simply verify their compilability?

I still cannot see a need to look inside the sources. Contributors would be well known namely. Including bad code thus will not be possible anonymously. Instead object / runtime code easily could be qualified as been produced using BC Builder or BDS or not. Maybe elected winners' programs' sources could be revisited by a neutral trustee, whether they would compile and link with a Borland C++ Builder or not and be identical to the entered executables.

Maybe I have got the wrong impression from some postings, that the contest seems to be interested more in sources than in resulting programs. But there will be of course a lot of people who do not care at all about that question.

Quote from: mouser
...what i meant about sandbox is that we might accept entries without sourcecode, and do testing within a sandbox, with the understanding that before we sanctioned official winners we'd have to be able to compile it ourselves or otherwise satisfy ourselves that the code was safe.

If after such a verification all transferred source code would be deleted and the people involved would be made known to the programmer it could be an acceptable compromise.

Regards, Reinhard.

f0dder

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Re: Please explain ...
« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2006, 05:44:58 AM »
Quote
a) one could interprete that, as if I would have intended the source to be seen by a lot of people;
b) I use to comment my sources using my own (German) language, not willing to translate it into every other relevant language;

a) not if you choose your words correctly. "Copyright by <you>, not intended for public distribution, see license.txt" - written a bit more verbose and in legalese.

b) you don't have to do that, just add an English copyright statement comment block at the top of all your source files.

Quote
that is fine, but where in the rules could I find the names of all people, who will be authorized to look into contributed program's sources? And why is in not sufficient to simply verify their compilability?
Good point, didn't think of that. But I assume that sources would only have to be looked through by one or two persons (mouser and perhaps a borland guy). And why not just verify their compilability? Because somebody might implement a backdoor or other malicious code in their program. Consider that the programs from this contest will probably reach a *lot* of users, that would be a perfect occasion to sneak in a backdoor. Paranoia? Perhaps. But better being a bit paranoid than risk legal problems.

I do see your point in contestants being named, though. Would probably be a bit too much trouble abusing this contest.

Quote
Maybe I have got the wrong impression from some postings, that the contest seems to be interested more in sources than in resulting programs.
I don't care about the sources, and my impression was that it's indeed about the resulting programs, with source screening just to avoid bad code.

Quote
If after such a verification all transferred source code would be deleted and the people involved would be made known to the programmer it could be an acceptable compromise.
That sounds fair to me as well. If I had a closed-source program I wouldn't accept other people looking at my source except under similar conditions.
- carpe noctem

mouser

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Re: Please explain ...
« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2006, 05:48:59 AM »
the only purpose of requiring people to submit source code is so that we don't end up running a program with viruses and trojans in it, and/or distributing a program widely that has viruses and trojans.

as much as it would be nice to believe no one would submit such a thing, in this day and age one has to be careful.

there may be other ways to be sure that this doesn't happen, perhaps with a phone call to author, or if the author is known in some other capacity (established author, etc.).

i'm happy to sign any non-disclosure contract you might want signed sayng that only one person will have access to the source, and for the sole purpose of compiling it for evaluation.


Quote
Maybe I have got the wrong impression from some postings, that the contest seems to be interested more in sources than in resulting programs.

i tried to make clear this this is not the case at all - we will not be judging programs based on source code.

Smirf

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Re: Please explain ...
« Reply #15 on: April 10, 2006, 06:16:54 AM »
Quote from: mouser
... i'm happy to sign any non-disclosure contract you might want signed sayng that only one person will have access to the source, and for the sole purpose of compiling it for evaluation. ...

Quote from: Smirf
... If after such a verification all transferred source code would be deleted and the people involved would be made known to the programmer ...

It would be sufficient, if such statements simply would be part of the contest rules. Regarding this as finally done, I would like to write and enter a special pure donationware version of SMIRF.

Is there a roadmap, how such an entering should be done, and if and how users' feed back could be used to optimize that program until the final time line (only if such a modificating would be allowed at all)?

Regards, Reinhard.

mouser

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Re: Please explain ...
« Reply #16 on: April 10, 2006, 06:22:00 AM »
i encourage entrants to make their binary versions available to users on this forum for beta testing and feedback before making a final submission.  you don't have to submit source code - users here can decide whether they feel comfortable testing your program or not on their own.

i will modify the official contest rules to state what we have talked about there - there is no problem signing a statement as you have asked.

Smirf

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Re: Please explain ...
« Reply #17 on: April 10, 2006, 10:16:11 AM »
Quote from: mouser
... i encourage entrants to make their binary versions available to users on this forum for beta testing ...
where and how?

mouser

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Re: Please explain ...
« Reply #18 on: April 10, 2006, 10:16:43 AM »
just post it on a new thread in this section.
(you can attach a .zip or .exe to a post)